By Cynthia Brown, assistant director of Public Affairs and NAU alumna

Commencement is my favorite holiday, and at Northern Arizona University it comes twice a year.

Families and friends flock from far away to see their loved ones mark a major milestone. From start to finish, each ceremony is filled with smiles and tears of joy. I’m there each semester, smiling too, soaking in the enthusiasm and celebrating with the newest members of our alumni family.

It’s a time of year I look forward to because each one of us at Northern Arizona University has a part in every student’s success. Whether we teach or support the operation, we’re all part of a complex system that keeps the university moving forward and keeps students on track to a better future.

When President John Haeger pauses in each commencement ceremony to ask students to stand and recognize the many people it took to get each of them to this day, I think of all the employees who work inside and outside of the classroom at NAU and contribute to each student’s success. From facility services to telecommunications and payroll to residence halls, each NAU employee matters and makes this day possible for our students.

So tomorrow and Saturday when our graduates and their families beam with pride, I’ll be thinking of you and the role you’ve played to get them there.